Marine Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF), Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) return to resupply Deep Sea Observatory and collect the data.
The observatory was developed by MBARI’s researcher Ken Smith and engineer Alana Sherman to provide a view of the food supply to deep-sea ecosystems, a habitat that occupies more than 60% of the Earth’s surface and is important in the global carbon cycle. Similar instruments maintained in the eastern North Atlantic and eastern North Pacific have provided compelling evidence that climate-driven changes can readily influence deep-sea processes. The instrument system has two sediment traps that collect small organic particles drifting down from the sunlit surface waters. It also has a time-lapse camera system with two high-powered strobe lights that has been taking pictures of the seafloor hourly during the deployment. The researchers will download the data from the cameras and prepare the sample containers for a second deployment that will be recovered in February 2012.